need help sourcing material!
February 21, 2011 3:04 PM   Subscribe

Where to source cheap LED strands?

I need to source around 100 LED strands (25-30 LEDs spot-soldered in parallel) to make 3V lightsabers for a kid's electronics kit in the next month or so. Ideally, we'd like to do it for under $2 a strand. The cheapest we've found them is to cut them out of existing toys and use the batteries, but it's incredibly wasteful and also a lot of extra work.

Does anyone have any idea of where I can source these for cheap? We tried ebay, and also checked with novelty stores to see where they get theirs (Zero Toys, Rhode Island Novelty), but no luck. Christmas lights usually run off 120V AC, and the ones that are battery powered are usually pretty pricey. If anyone has suggestions for where to source cheap 3V christmas lights, that would work too. Have looked at adafruit and sparkfun, but they seem pretty expensive. We can solder them all by hand, but I'm hoping there's an easier option!

posted by puckish to Grab Bag (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It's the parallel part that's going to kill you here. Almost everything I've seen in very cheap arrangements are serial.

DealExtreme is a good source for this kind of thing. Here are a few products:

Use their fast ordering system and only order items in stock, and you can have your order in 2-3 weeks direct from China. I use them for all kinds of things and love their service.
posted by fake at 3:36 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

(I would sure like to see your plans if you're willing to share.)
posted by wenestvedt at 7:59 AM on February 22, 2011

Response by poster: The original plans are here:

There are updated versions (many!) which will be posted on or around our website ( with whatever sourcing details we have once we hammer down the best and cheapest way to make the swords.

Thanks for these links, fake! It looks like we've got our work cut out for us, but these are helpful.
posted by puckish at 8:57 PM on February 22, 2011

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